Mayor Correia Puts the Blame on Sam Sutter [OPINION]
Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia held a wild press conference Tuesday to address his indictment by the U.S. Attorney for looting money from his company SnoOwl.
The 26-year-old mayor held his press conference on the first floor of Fall River's City Hall. This was probably the first time a person who had been arrested by the FBI and arraigned in federal court wearing leg irons and handcuffs held a press conference in that municipal building.
At the start of the press conference, the indicted mayor held up a number of papers for the media and the lobby full of his supporters to see. He described the papers as a five-page speech he and his lawyers had worked on for a few days. He then smiled and explained his supporters know he doesn't work from prepared remarks, and so he was going to speak from the heart rather than read the document the lawyers had approved for him.
A person speaking from the heart is given a little bit more leeway than a person speaking from prepared remarks reviewed by their highly regarded legal team. The U.S. Attorney may not give them any leeway, but the media and the public generally understand a slip of the tongue or an inadvertent statement that proves to be incorrect.
That is what makes Jasiel Correia's prepared statement so interesting. According to the statement released to the media, the charges against Correia are part of a conspiracy involving former Bristol County District Attorney and Fall River Mayor Samuel Sutter, former U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the FBI, the IRS, current U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, and the son of an investor in Jasiel's company SnoOwl, who was angry he couldn't get a job with the City of Fall River.
The mayor writes: "As you all know, in November 2015 I was elected mayor after defeating a former District Attorney. We now know a federal investigation began shortly after I was sworn in as mayor in January of 2016. I do not believe this is a coincidence."
So he is blaming Sam Sutter for instigating the investigation by the Obama Justice Department because he defeated him in a political campaign.
He goes on in his written remarks to claim the conspiracy broadened as he achieved more for the citizens of Fall River.
"As I continued to challenge the establishment, the investigation seemed to grow more and more.
We know that the investigation was unrelated to SnoOwl and that the FBI and other federal agencies were seeking information in response to a smear campaign of false allegations being made by political enemies."
To believe the written remarks of Jasiel Correia, you must believe the political establishment of Fall River has control of the FBI and the Justice Department, regardless of who the U.S. Attorney is in Boston, and who the Attorney General is, and who is the President of the United States. Remember the investigation started under President Obama and continued under President Trump.
Is it plausible that this entire investigation began as something politically motivated by Jasiel's detractors and opponents? Absolutely. But the way Correia paints it, it's a conspiracy that reaches all the way to the White House and is worthy of a three-hour movie by Oliver Stone.
Much like SnoOwl itself, I wouldn't invest too much in that.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.